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Guest Blog


Keep using the drops! – Glaucoma Awareness Week 2019

By Karen Osborn, CEO of International Glaucoma Association (IGA) It’s June and it’s Glaucoma Awareness Week! And as always, the most pressing thing we need to shout about is eye health checks. It’s a scary fact, but there are about 700,000 people living with glaucoma in the UK but half of them don’t know they have it. And once sight is lost to glaucoma it’s gone forever – as there’s still no cure. So every June our main call to action is: have regular eye checks! Glaucoma is unlike a lot of other eye conditions – if it’s detected...

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Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 – Top Ten tips for managing Stress by Laura Greaves

Laura Greaves from the podcast Suddenly Sightless shares her top ten tips on how to deal with stress. Everyone will become stressed at some point in their life. It may look or feel different to different people, and many may not even recognise it – but everyone will experience it. The most stressful time period in my life was during my career transition. I was still coming to terms with my sight loss and tried to keep things as normal as I could. I was no longer able to complete my work duties as I was based in a...

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World Health Day 2019: what it means to me by Louise Dickson from Illuminate Freedom

This World Health Day 2019, there are millions of people across the world that still have no access to health care at all. Living in the UK, we are fortunate enough to be able to access the NHS for a multitude of health conditions, ailments and disabilities; but what about those of us that still struggle to find the help or relief we seek through the power of modern medicine? Many of us suffer daily, whether it be from pain, fatigue, or mental health conditions; challenges that often have no known ‘cure’. But does that mean that those of us...

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Our Right to Study – Holly’s story

Holly is a final year student studying Spanish at Coventry University. This is Holly’s personal account of Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). Her experience emphasises what the government should do to ensure that students with vision impairments have fair access to university.  When applying for university, I knew that as a blind student I would face challenges that others wouldn’t have to consider. Would I be able to access the books in the library? What technology would I need? How would I handle orientation and mobility on campus? These were questions I had to ask myself and find solutions to...

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My Blurred World – Retinitis Pigmentosa Awareness Month

This Retinitis Pigmentosa Awareness Month, award winning blogger Elin Williams writes for TPT about her own experience of living with the eye condition. I’m Elin, a 20-year-old blogger and Open University student who is passionate about beauty, fashion, music and writing, just to name a few. Retinitis Pigmentosa I was diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition, Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) when I was six years old, three years after my parents realised that I couldn’t see in the dark. This month is RP awareness month and I’m sure many will be sharing their stories and experiences both on and offline,...

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Why I launched Esme’s Umbrella by Judith Potts for Charles Bonnet Patient Day

Three years ago, I launched Esme’s Umbrella at the House of Commons to raise awareness of Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS) and to fund research into this distressing condition. Named after my late mother, for whom CBS tormented her final years with multiple hallucinations, Esme’s Umbrella – which is still just me – has moved apace and today I am hosting the world’s first Charles Bonnet Syndrome Patient Day at Moorfields Eye Hospital. CBS has been acknowledged by ophthalmologists and optometrists since Charles Bonnet first documented his grandfather’s experience of vivid, silent, visual hallucinations in 1760, but it has always...

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White Cane Awareness Day 2018: How the humble white cane changed my life by Darren Paskell

I’m Darren and I work in the Technology Services team at Thomas Pocklington Trust. From the perspective of a blind person with a professional interest in the field of technology, I cannot overemphasise the positive impact that using a white cane has brought to my life. At a time when driverless cars, automated recognition apps and a range of accessible navigation solutions are emerging, it really is hard to overlook the importance of perhaps the most revolutionary invention enhancing independent living for the blind and partially sighted people of the twentieth century. A bit more about me – I...

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White Cane Awareness Day: Using a white symbol cane by Barbara Smith

I’m Barbara Smith, I am a representative of the Kingston Visual Impairment Parliament as MP for Independence. We are a group of blind and partially sighted residents who raise awareness of issues for people living with sight loss, and we campaign for a more inclusive community. I use a symbol cane when I go out to the shops or travel on public transport, which includes buses, trains and the London Underground. A symbol cane is a small white cane that a blind or partially sighted person holds to let people around them know that they are partially sighted. It...

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World Sight Day: A day in the life of Martin Sigsworth

I am the senior employment manager at Thomas Pocklington Trust and have been registered blind since I was 11. On World Sight Day, I want to show that with a few minor adaptions, my life is pretty similar to anyone else’s. My day starts at 6:00. Hauling myself out of bed is always a struggle but my partner Charlie and I have a pet greyhound called Jammy and his barking is an alarm you just can’t snooze through – when that pooch wants his food, you’d better make a move! Time is tight in the morning, so Charlie and...

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World Sight Day: Why I love my job by Cathy Low

My name is Cathy Low and my experience of sight loss started in adolescence when I was diagnosed with an incurable, inherited, degenerative eye condition called Stargardt disease which results in central vision loss. I have some peripheral vision but cannot see anything if I look straight ahead. I cannot see detail, read without assistive technology or recognise people even when they are very close to me. Despite this, I have been the CEO of London Vision for the past year. I am probably amongst the minority of people who can genuinely say I love my job. At London...

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World Sight Day: A day in the life of Maxine Plowden

I was diagnosed with the eye condition coloboma at 3 months old, and as a result, I have never known what it is like to have good sight. Coloboma is when part of the eye does not develop properly during pregnancy. It usually affects the iris, lens, or, in my case the retina. A large part of my retina is missing. It is most notable in my right eye because the pupil is small. I have very little vision, but I can see the outlines of objects and people. I have more sight in my left eye and this...

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Will I lose my job if I have lost my vision?

Daniel Williams, Director of Visualise Training and Consultancy, has written a blog about employment after losing your vision,  the steps you can take and the support you can get to help you with your job.  With over 200 people being diagnosed every week with an eye condition in work which cannot be corrected by the wearing of glasses or contact lenses, there is a lot of people struggling to keep working. Many will even be in fear of their uncertain future and may not get the advice and support they need. Carry on working Do you keep trying to work...

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My Guide Dog Training Experience

Alex Pepper, London Vision’s Networks Manager, recently got his first guide dog. Alex writes about his guide dog training experience and how his first guide dog River has already changed his life. After being on the waiting list for a guide dog for 12 months I was ecstatic when I got the call from the London team to let me know they may have a match. A big part of me almost didn’t believe it, it seemed a bit too good to be true, and so I arranged for a match walk the following week with a large part...

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My network travel experience with customers with visual impairments

George Rogers, a representative from the West Midlands Combined Authority, writes to his colleagues about his experience catching public transport while wearing sim-specs with Thomas Pocklington Trust staff and members of the Birmingham Sight Loss Council. On a wet Friday afternoon in September I joined my colleague Anna Sirmoglou and two visually impaired customers for a tour around our transport network from a visual impairment perspective. Andy an Mark, members of the Birmingham Sight Loss Council, met me with smiles and I soon realised that I would be the guinea pig on the day: I thought I would be...

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Prudential Ride London 46 on a tandem bike

Alex Pepper, 27, has been sight impaired his whole life and lost his functional sight in early 2016. Alex, a Project Coordinator at Thomas Pocklington Trust, has written about his experience training for and cycling in Prudential Ride London 46. Entering the Ride London 46 was something I hadn’t really planned to do initially.  It came about after speaking to Wheels for Wellbeing about arranging some tandem cycling track events in Croydon for the local visually impaired (VI) residents to try out.  Abigail, who worked for the charity, told me about her experience doing the ride last year, and...

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Learning to swim with South East London Vision

Ian Rattray, a 52-year-old member of South East London Vision (SELVis), has written about his experience taking swimming lessons organised by SELVis and the charity Sense. Ian was born short-sighted so he has never had 20:20 vision, and he was recently diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa. My first experience of water as a child was not a good one. When I was around 4 or 5 my sister and I managed to capsize a pedalo.  I had to be rescued from the pool we were in.  This was not helped by swimming lessons at school where I was generally ignored....

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Can you be a bit blind?

Can you be a bit blind? – The way that sight loss and blindness is understood in the wider population is, in my view, a barometer of our success  in getting people to grasp the importance of eye health. By this, I don’t just mean those that are registered blind, or indeed those that are at risk of it. I mean all of us – the whole community. As the population lives longer, the prevalence of sight loss is rising. Coupled with this, lifestyle choices are also bringing conditions such as diabetic retinopathy into people’s lives. In short, eye...

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The Power of Social Media When You Have a Disability

Guest blog by Emily Davison – author of the blog Fashioneyesta. Social media, it seems to be taking over the world these days. It dominates many news stories and it’s a key way that people find out news on current affairs, their favoured celebrities and share news on their own lives. With there being so many apps created to allow people to network and share their lives with the world, some may ask ‘why?’ and ‘what’s the point of it all?’ Allow me to introduce myself; my name is Emily Davison, although in the cyber world I’m more commonly...

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Athletics helped former Commonwealth Games competitor deal with her sight loss

Guest Blog by former Commonwealth Games competitor Selina Litt. Find her blog page Insight Out here There’s no way of sugar coating it, losing your sight is tough. It’s not fair. You ask ‘why me’?! I have a rare genetic eye condition called Norrie’s Disease, which is only meant to affect males, but guess what I defied the odds and was the first female in the world to be diagnosed with the condition. Lucky me! In a sense I am lucky though. I am glad that I had the opportunity to see.  It has nearly been ten years since I have...

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Pen labelling for blind people

Guest Blog by Barbara. Blog page…. There was a lady on this morning a little while ago, who was blind and wore makeup. Her boyfriend and dog accompanied her, and the way she used to wear her makeup, she would label her makeup with a blind pen which is sold from the RNIB shop, for £75. The labelling is speech affected and she would label up her eyeliner, her mascara and lipstick whatever colour they were. She wasn’t fully blind, she could see light or dark. Follow the link to the labelling pen in the RNIB shop… Another name...

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